Drones, unmanned aerial vehicles often equipped with cameras and controlled by remote controls to go up to 11,000 feet, are becoming as ubiquitous as selfie sticks among travelers. In fact, drones might be the new selfie stick. All over the world, tourists are going to great lengths, and great heights, to use them to get impressive aerial videos and photos.
Below, we’ve rounded up the places that regularly produce some of the best drone footage on the Internet.
Note: Some places don’t allow drones without permission from the FAA, and flying rules vary by destination. All drone regulations prohibit flying near commercial airports or over crowds of people. Be sure to check local requirements if you plan on visiting these or any destinations with a drone.
And enjoy the view.
1. Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California, is a popular place to fly a drone in the U.S. for good reason: The results are often jaw-dropping.
With iconic, recognizable sights like the Hollywood sign , the pier at Santa Monica, and the Griffith Observatory, as well as expensive homes in the Hollywood Hills, movie studios and famous streets like Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles is a fascinating city to enjoy from above.
Iceland has incredible topography, including lagoons, geysers, rivers, volcanoes and mountains. It offers snow-capped terrain, glaciers and ice caves in winter and waterfalls in summer.
Drones provide visuals of stunning natural attractions native to Iceland like Flaajokull, a famous glacier, and Dimmuborgir, an area with unusually shaped lava fields.
3. Niagara Falls, New York
One of the most famous natural wonders of the world, Niagara Falls, on the U.S.-Canada border, is a terrific place to view from a drone. The mammoth Niagara River rumbles toward the 188-foot high waterfall that falls around 30 MPH, creating a misty fog and a roar, and often a rainbow.
You can get a bird’s-eye view directly above the falls using a drone, as well as of the hordes of tourists all trying to get the best view from below.
The best way to see the islands of Hawaii is from above, which is why helicopter tours are a popular pastime for tourists. Other travelers will hike to peaks and summits, like the Haleakala Crater , the highest volcano in Hawaii, for similarly amazing aerial views.
A drone tour of Hawaii will take you on a journey through natural extremes, from verdant valleys with waterfalls and volcanic vistas to sprawling white beaches and crystal-clear waters, on the islands of Oahu, Maui and Kauai, among others.
Botswana is known for the game reserves that surround the Okavango River. Visitors on safari traditionally see the wild animals from jeeps. Drone footage gives you a good glimpse of their migrations from the sky, so you can observe as herds of animals run across their sprawling, unspoiled terrain.
When you’re in Botswana proper, a professional safari guide must accompany you outside your resort. A drone gives you the freedom to watch elephants, rhinoceros, giraffes, gazelles, lions and other native animals from your couch.
6. Riviera Maya, Mexico
In Riviera Maya, which stretches from Cancun to Tulum in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, drones capture breathtaking scenery: white sand beaches, turquoise waters, tropical jungles, “cenotes” (underwater sink holes) and nature reserves, which are unique to the area.
In Mayakoba, the drone goes over precious mangroves, which hug the coastline, as seen in the drone video at Banyan Tree Mayakoba.
In Tulum, drones can capture the ancient ruins on a beach-side cliff, including a castle from the 1500s. Rustic villas and compounds line the white-sand beach, and the area is known for blue morpho butterflies that flutter against the lush greenery.
7. Miami, Florida
Miles of white-sand beaches meet glittery high-rise condos, towers and hotels in Miami, but there are also sprawling parks, Art Deco architecture and bustling neighborhoods like the Design District that are a lot of fun to see from above.
Miami is one of the top cities for boat owners, according to SmartAsset, and it’s entertaining to observe the boats and yachts out on the turquoise waters, as well as the more active travelers stand-up paddle-boarding and wake-boarding.
8. Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a dynamic, thriving city hugging the Victoria Harbour. While it’s mostly urban, and chock-full of high-rise buildings that make for a dramatic skyline, it’s also surrounded by mountains and islands.
Both the urban areas and its environs are breathtaking to see by way of a drone. It’s best when drone flies over the mountains, like Victoria Peak.
9. New Hampshire
There is no better time to watch a drone fly over New Hampshire than right now, thanks to the state’s famous fall foliage. Drones go over miles of pristine forests where thousands of trees turn red, orange and yellow, as well as rivers, mountains and waterfalls, connecting viewers to the wild, unfurled nature for which New Hampshire is famous.
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